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PCOS and Hair Loss

While there is more research to be done on PCOS and hair loss, there are ways to help with FPHL, a potential symptom of PCOS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a menstrual hormone disorder that many women suffer from and affects 5-10% of women, including NBC’s television show Superstore’s Lauren Ash, who has been open about living with PCOS. Extensive research is being done on PCOS and hair loss relations.

PCOS and hair loss

PCOS is a hormone disorder that can cause a range of symptoms, including both hirsutism and androgenic alopecia. Hirsutism is defined as excessive terminal hair growth on the upper lip, chin, periareolar, and mid sternum/lower abdomen areas. 

While many with PCOS experience excessive hair growth on parts of their body, unfortunately, many also experience hair thinning on their scalp. Hair loss associated with PCOS is typically known as androgenic alopecia, which is more commonly known as female pattern hair loss (FPHL). It is important to note that hirsutism and androgenic alopecia are not mutually exclusive, as an individual can experience both. 

The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that can form in the ovaries. There are some cases where a female does not produce enough hormones that are needed to ovulate. When this happens, the ovaries can develop small cysts. Women with PCOS do not necessarily form cysts, and women without the condition can develop cysts. These cysts produce hormones called androgens. Those suffering from PCOS often have high levels of these hormones, causing the symptoms of PCOS. It is important to note that having an ovarian cyst is not enough information to diagnose PCOS, and those who suspect should consult with their doctor.

Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS puts women at risk for female pattern hair loss. Research has shown that “FPHL specifically is reported as a clinical sign of hyperandrogenism associated with PCOS,” according to the National Library of Medicine. 

Other symptoms of PCOS can include:

  • Virilism (excess hair)
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Androgenic alopecia 
  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Infertility 
  • Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the underarms, and under the breasts

Unlike hair loss from stress (Telogen Effluvium), which can regrow on its own, the hair loss caused by PCOS will need to be treated.

It is not entirely clear as to what causes PCOS, though there could be multiple factors such as insulin resistance, obesity, and even family genetics. While there is more research to be done on PCOS and hair loss, there are ways to help with FPHL.

Here are a few tips to help guide you in the right direction:

  1. If you think you have PCOS, you should schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and/or PCP. They may bring in additional specialists such as an endocrinologist.
  2. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of PCOS is difficult to make as there are three different classification systems used for diagnosing. This often leads to delays in diagnosis and can have an effect on the patient’s experience. This makes it imperative for patients to be diligent in seeking out medical treatment to receive a proper diagnosis.
  3. It is vital to treat both the hormone imbalance from PCOS and hair loss. This is why it is also important to see a female hair loss specialist that truly understands PCOS hair loss to ensure both are being appropriately treated.

Medi Tresse can help with possible treatments for PCOS and Hair Loss.

When you come to the hair loss specialists at Medi Tresse, we book you for a one-hour consultation. This is how long it takes to complete a full hair loss evaluation. You will get a full medical evaluation at your first visit. A trained medical professional will take your medical and hair loss history, do a hair pull test, blood work, perform trichoscopy, and take a biopsy of the scalp if necessary.

As the hair loss associated with PCOS is due to a hormone imbalance causing elevated male hormones or androgens, Medi Tresse recommends the same types of treatments that are recommended to patients with androgenic alopecia. This could be any combination of PRP/OPC therapy, LLLT, topical minoxidil, and supplements. Tresse rejuvenation therapy is a combination of in-office treatments, such as Optimal Platelet Concentration Therapy or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, and at-home treatments like Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), FDA approved topicals, and vitamins and supplements.

These treatments would be specific to the hair. The practitioner would make other recommendations to ensure that hormone levels were at appropriate levels as well.

To learn more about possible treatments from a hair loss specialist, book your consultation with Medi Tresse today.

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The Medi Tresse team is composed of experts in female hair loss. We are committed to offering innovative, non-surgical treatments for hair rejuvenation in women. Whether you are simply looking to increase your hair’s thickness or want to stop more extensive hair loss, Medi Tresse has a wide array of solutions ranging from platelet-rich plasma therapy to low-level laser therapy.

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